LAKE MINNETONKA HISTORY
Lake Minnetonka, with over 110 miles of shoreline, received its name from the language of the Dakota Indians – “minne” (water) “tonka” (big) – one of several Native America tribes who inhabited its shores prior to the arrival of Europeans from Fort Snelling in 1822. The lake boom era began in the 1850's, when the railroad arrived followed by steamships, grand hotels, towns, amusement parks and new home construction which ranged from weekend cabins to distinctive estates. This heyday ended abruptly with the Great Depression, along with the expansion of railroads that could transport vacationers to further destinations.
Today, Lake Minnetonka remains a playground for boating, fishing, cruise lines and other forms of water recreation. Along its beautiful shores, visitors enjoy parks, beaches and charming towns such as Excelsior and Wayzata. There is plenty of family enjoyment including trolley rides, outstanding dining and shopping, as well as special events and festivities.
For more information visit the Excelsior-Lake Minnetonka Historical Society